Beta catenin is associated with breast cancer progression in vitro

Int J Oncol. 2005 Apr;26(4):913-21.


Cancer is induced by a series of genetic alterations that lead to changes in the normal mechanisms controlling cell proliferation, differentiation, cell death, or genomic instability. The MCF-10F, a spontaneously immortalized human breast epithelial cell line, treated with benzo(a)pyrene and then transfected with the c-Ha-ras oncogene was used in these studies. The aim was to define the phenotypic alterations associated with the carcinogenic process. Carcinogen-treated and c-Ha-ras-transfected cells showed a progression of changes in the morphology as seen by transmission electron microscopy, anchorage-independent growth, invasiveness and capability of tumor formation in the SCID mice, as well as altered oncoprotein expression. Furthermore, these cells showed an increased expression of MDM2, Int-2 (FGF-3) and beta catenin in comparison to control MCF-10F as determined by fluorescence staining coupled with confocal microscopy. The MDM2, Int-2 (FGF-3) expressions were increased in cell lines transfected with the c-Ha-ras with or without carcinogen treatment as well as the tumor cell line derived from a tumor formed in the SCID mice in comparison to control cell line MCF-10F. However, beta catenin was only increased in the most aggressive tumorigenic cell lines in comparison with MCF-10F cell line and non-transfected ones. It can be concluded that malignant progression is a stepwise process and tumor growth occurs after a series of molecular events that parallel morphological changes indicative of cell transformation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Benzo(a)pyrene / toxicity
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Genes, ras
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Trans-Activators / biosynthesis*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • beta Catenin


  • CTNNB1 protein, human
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • beta Catenin
  • Benzo(a)pyrene